The Study of Presidential Leadership

George C. Edwards

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Presidency

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199238859
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

The Study of Presidential Leadership

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This article argues that one needs to think more rigorously about presidential leadership in order to advance its understanding. More specifically, we need to reorient the focus from one that concentrates on presidential persuasion as the core of successful leadership to one that centers on facilitating change through the recognition and exploitation of opportunities in the president's environment. The political system compels the president to attempt to lead while inhibiting his ability to do so. The most effective presidents exploit opportunities already present in their environments to achieve significant changes in public policy. It is noted that facilitators can make crucial contributions to transforming policy without performing transformational leadership. The importance of understanding leadership is discussed. Leadership remains a core concept in the study of the presidency. Fortunately, this focus of scholarship has produced good news and even better news.

Keywords: presidential leadership; presidential persuasion; political system; public policy; facilitators; transformational leadership

Article.  10722 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Comparative Politics

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